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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $274 Million in Funding for 12 Projects to Improve and Expand Transportation Infrastructure in Rural Areas

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

New Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program, made possible by the President’s infrastructure law, makes long overdue safety and state of good repair investments to transportation systems in rural areas across the nation

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded $273.9 million from the new Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (Rural) to help communities around the United States complete transportation projects that will increase connectivity, improve safety and reliability, support regional economic growth, and improve the quality of life for people living in rural areas.  

Due to decades of disinvestment, around 13% of rural roads and 10% of off-system bridges, most of which are in rural areas, are in poor condition. The fatality rate on rural roads is also two times greater than on urban roads. Facing these sobering figures, the Biden Administration made supporting Americans living in rural areas a top priority. And with a total of $44 billion through the infrastructure law to help rural communities repair and improve their roads, bridges, airports, ports, and transit systems, USDOT is leading the charge to help rebuild rural transportation systems to benefit residents for decades to come. 

“Infrastructure investments haven’t always reached rural America, leaving far too many roads, bridges and other parts of the transportation system across our country in disrepair,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Today’s announcement is one of many ways this administration is delivering the investments that rural communities have gone without for far too long, modernizing transportation, creating economic opportunity and making life better for millions of people.” 

This year’s selected projects include: 

  • West Reserve Drive Improvements Project in Kalispell, Montana. In the city of Kalispell, Montana – a gateway to Glacier National Park – USDOT is investing $25 million in pedestrian and road safety and economic mobility. The project will make needed improvements along West Reserve Drive including the addition of a center turn lane, new landscaped boulevards with a shared use path and sidewalks to separate pedestrians and cyclists from motor vehicle traffic, and a redesign of the Hutton Ranch Road and Whitefish Stage Road intersections that will reduce congestion and improve access to nearby educational facilities, job opportunities, retail shops, and recreation areas for local residents. 
  • Mobility for Everyone, Everywhere in North Carolina. In up to 11 rural communities across North Carolina, USDOT is investing $10.4 million in new and expanded on-demand transit services that will be tailored to each community’s unique transportation needs. The project will increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for local residents.  
  • BIA Route 7 Regional Improvement Project in Todd County, South Dakota. In Todd County, South Dakota -- which is completely within the borders of the Rosebud Indian Reservation – USDOT is investing $26.2 million in the reconstruction of approximately 24 miles of roadway stretching from US Route 18 to US Route 83. The project will provide improved access for Tribal residents to the town of Rosebud and the essential services located there, including healthcare centers, employment opportunities, and educational facilities. 

More information and a full list of this year’s Rural grant recipients can be found HERE

The Rural program, which is new this year thanks to President Biden’s historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure, will invest a total of approximately $2 billion through 2026 for projects that improve highways, bridges, and tunnels, address highway safety, increase access to agricultural, commercial, energy, or freight facilities that support the economy, and bring flexible transit services to rural and Tribal areas. The Department received applications requesting approximately $10 billion in funding, far exceeding the nearly $300 million in 2022 funding available. 

Applications were evaluated based on several criteria, including project readiness, cost-effectiveness, and whether the project supported critical goals like enhancing safety, increasing mobility and reliability, improving resiliency and restoring infrastructure to a state of good repair. Applicants for the Rural program also benefited from a streamlined application process that reduced the burden for applicants by allowing them to submit one application for three different grant programs: Rural, the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA), and the new National Infrastructure Project Assistance program (Mega). 

For more information about the Rural program and the combined Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant funding opportunity, click HERE.

USDOT announced INFRA award recipients in September and expects to announce the recipients of this round of Mega funding early next year.